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Poster: Jacky Hughes Date: Oct 30, 2011 2:21pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Dogs and Cats

'The Dog Star' refers to Siruis, the brightest star in the constellation of Canis Major. Canis Major and Canis Minor are the hunting dogs of Orion the hunter, the constellation of which is close by.

Therefore these are mythological dogs and just as 'real' as any other dogs which may appear in songs. Just because they are mentioned in songs as opposed to Greek mythology, does not make them any more real.

More spurious is why any sailor would try and navigate by a star that moves around the sky.
Most people would navigate by Polaris (the north star) or the Southern Cross which always points to the south pole.

This post was modified by Jacky Hughes on 2011-10-30 21:21:39

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Poster: robthewordsmith Date: Oct 31, 2011 3:25pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Dogs and Cats

Sailors did navigate by stars other than Polaris. Greek sailors had charts showing the heights of different stars above the horizon at different times of year and could use this knowledge to steer their ships by.

The astrolabe, or ‘star grasper’ was based on a star map drawn up by the 2nd century BC Greek astronomer Hipparchus. The map was engraved on a disk of brass or bronze 10 to 50 centimetres in diameter, with a pointer, called an alidade, mounted at the centre of the disk. A bright star's altitude above the horizon was measured using the alidade and a scale engraved on the back rim of the astrolabe.

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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Oct 30, 2011 11:48pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Dogs and Cats

Maybe that's why he's lost.

But in the song, it's clearly a star, not a dog. While lyrics have a lot of leeway for interpration, "counting stars by candlelight" would not reasonably mean "walking through Beverly Hills during a blackout and seeing how many movie stars are out," and it would not count on a list of gods, even though there are many mythologies where stars and gods are equated; and the "spiral light of Venus" could not be counted on a list of plants or insects based on the argument that it refers to a firefly spiraling around inside a Venus Flytrap, and fireflies and Venus Flytraps are just as real as planets/stars. So, too, does the Dog Star refer to a star in the sky, not a canine, and hence cannot go on a list of Deadly doggies.

If, on the other hand, the line had gone, "where's the dog star? Where's his bone? He's a lost Fido, Orion wants him home" ... well, you'd have a point.

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Poster: Jacky Hughes Date: Oct 31, 2011 2:07pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Interesting

"where's the dog star? Where's his bone? He's a lost Fido, Orion wants him home"

As it is your quiz, you can allow or disallow whatever you feel. That's fair enough.

But I would rather be 'wrong' and allow my imagination to take whatever metaphorical or pictoral interpretation of music, lyric, poetry or prose that it wishes. As opposed to having it constrained by 'correct' and literal translation (and stops my mind from wandering, where it will go).

What make you of this lyric, I wonder (sorry, went a bit robthewordsmith on you there) ?

"While the storyteller speaks
a door within the fire creaks
suddenly flies open
and a girl is standing there"

This post was modified by Jacky Hughes on 2011-10-31 21:07:56

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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Oct 31, 2011 7:04pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Interesting

a) Well, there was this trap door in the fireplace, see, and this girl used it, and you should have seen the look on her face
b) He's telling a really steamy story to a bunch of guys, so they're thinking about a hot girl
c) None of the above

I get your point, but allusiveness jumps off from the concrete. "Dog star" might have feelings or ideas that jump off of it that relate to the word "dog" (rather than, say, North Star, which would fit the rhythm but give a different feeling). Still, dog modifies star; star doesn't modify dog. Of course, that may not matter to any given individual ...